AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA's No. 14-ranked Azusa Pacific got back on the winning track with a 3-game sweep of Vanguard, 30-26, 30-27, 30-21, in Costa Mesa Thursday night.
The Cougars, now 6-3 overall, 1-1 GSAC, snap their 3-game losing streak and pick up their first win since defeating Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) in 3 games August 31 at the Concordia Tournament.
Sophomore Maria Abaca led the offensive attack for the Cougars, registering a match-high 13 kills, committing just 3 errors. Junior All-American Jenna Sagehorn added 11 kills (2 errors) and a match-high 16 digs. As a team, the Cougars hit a solid .287, the first time in 3 matches that they have been above the .200 mark.
Vanguard led 24-23 at one point in the opening game, but the Cougars scored the next 2 points, the second coming on an Abaca kill, to take a 25-24 lead they would not relinquish. The Lions led 18-16 in the second game when the teams exchanged leads until the game was tied 26-26. The Cougars scored 4 of the next 5 points to take the game, 30-27.
The third game was all Cougars as they stormed out to a 9-2 lead. After Vanguard climbed to within 4 (13-9), the Cougars called a timeout and responded by opening up a 26-16 advantage and ultimately a 30-21 win.
The Cougars host No. 2-ranked Fresno Pacific Tuesday night in the Felix Event Center. The Sunbirds have won 19 straight over the Cougars dating back to the 1994 season. The Cougars have not defeated the Sunbirds in Azusa since 1984.